Opinion

Rather than play the villain, we don our white hat

According to a recent poll by the Washington Post, 69% of Americans believe Saddam Hussein had a role in the September 11 attacks. That’s seven out of ten people. When did that happen? If I recall, the war began because Hussein was supposed to have weapons of mass destruction, and we wanted to see them. Then it became about liberating Iraq from the clutches of the evil dictator, who, unlike all the other evil dictators out there, had a lot of oil. Bush realized that’s one of the biblical signs of the devil. But now that we liberated the poor, oppressed oil fields, it turns out this was all about 9/11 all along.
Now, I understand why we had to stop blaming the weapons of mass destruction. Iraq put up about as much resistance as the bad paper towel brand in those Brawny commercials. Sure, we kept telling ourselves that they were “saving” those weapons until things “got really bad,” but it dawned on us that Hussein had missed his cue by a long shot. And there was no way we would let him say “see, I told you so” in front of all our UN buddies, so we just plopped that black cowboy hat on his head, put on our white one, and turned this into a spaghetti western. But September 11th?
I checked my map, and there’s a whole lot of Iran between Iraq and Afghanistan. That’s like the European Union bombing us because Guatemala pissed them off. This administration has flatly denied any connection between Hussein and the terrorist attack, so where are we getting this?
Part of it is the disappointment generated by the fact that even now, American troops get attacked an average of fifteen times a day by the Iraqi people. What kind of way is that to treat your liberators? Obviously, if they’re so unhappy about us being there, it has to be because they were connected with terrorism. After all, they should be dancing in the streets. Sure, maybe they have no electricity or water, but they are free and damn if that’s not better. Just ask anyone who went through the recent Northeast blackout just how happy he or she was to be free at that moment.
We don’t like to feel like the villain, or being disliked. One of the hardest things to grasp after September 11 was how anyone could hate us so much. The fact that we are making an entire generation of Iraqi people hate us is really hard for us to accept. The only way to make it digestible is to lump them together with the terrorists. It’s the only way we can say “but everyone ELSE likes us!” and mean it. But maybe it’s time we took off the white hat and stopped seeing things as us versus them. And really, we need to stop justifying ourselves after the fact. So far we are the only ones still being convinced – and still listening.

Endre Enyedy is a senior and can be contacted at endre_enyedy@yahoo.com.

October 3, 2003

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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.